There are three universal truths that are vital to building wealth. Do you know them? Do you practice them?
I’ll get into the three universal truths below. But once you have saved enough money, and your money-struggles have mostly ended, what are you going to do next? That’s the question I want to explore in this article. That’s the question that separates the different branches of wealth philosophy. Before I go deeper into the different branches of philosophy, I want to define the three universal truths of building wealth so we can all start on the same page. Here they are:
The Three Universal Truths to Building Wealth:
- Get a job, or start a business, that creates an income stream (s) that is larger than your spending habits.
- After paying your monthly expenses, invest the remaining portion of your income stream into an investment vehicle you prefer, such as: retirement-accounts; index-funds; or real-estate.
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 over and over again, until you build a portfolio of wealth that is large enough for you to stop worrying about the financial matters of life. Remember, it’s not the compounding of cash that leads to elite levels of wealth. It’s the compounding of investments.
Once you’ve mastered these three steps, and have started to become an elite wealth-builder, you may begin to ask yourself: “So what’s next? What am I supposed to do with my life and mind now that my money problems have begun to disappear?” These questions cause the first philosophical forks in the road to appear when pursuing wealth. Once you have enough money that you stop worrying about it, is the goal to get more money? Or is the goal to pursue a higher-realm of thinking and quality-of-thought that money can’t buy?
In my opinion, human beings are wired to need more than piles of money to create happiness in our lives. To create happiness, we not only need hard-resources such as money, food, and water, we also need feelings such as: love, purpose, belonging, security, and meaning. We need to experience adventure, exploration, discovery, and revelation. Money doesn’t create happiness. It’s our feelings, thoughts, and perspectives that create happiness inside of us. We need to create reasons in our lives to feel wealthy and happy, or we will never actually be happy or wealthy, no matter how much money we are able to possess, invest, and flaunt.
I am writing this article to challenge your views on what being wealthy ultimately means. Realize that the art of becoming wealthy is not about always needing to obtain more money. It is about obtaining enough money so that you don’t have to worry about money, and then asking yourself these question:
“What’s next once I have enough money?”
“What am I going to do with my life once I have mastered the universal truths to building wealth?”
“Who am I going to become once I have enough money that money problems cease to exist?”
How you choose to answer these questions, is what separates the higher-level philosophical branches in the personal finance world. This is what I mean:
After mastering the three universal truths of personal finance, some financial experts go bat-crap-crazy trying to climb to the highest mathematical summits in the personal finance world as they seek to find the purest form of wealth. They devote their lives to studying complex tax-avoidance strategies; they dissect every detail of an investment trying to maximize the best return on investment; and they use mathematical prowess to try to win financially in every decision.
Their mind and life become a statistical maze of numbers and percentages they’re constantly trying to navigate through. They search for a holy land of investment nirvana by trying to master every number, and every opportunity to increase their return on investment. This style of thinking goes: A 7% annual return is good. But if I can find a 7.5% annual return, that is even better and equals more success. And finding a 20% return is even better than that!!! And a 100% return is even better than that!!!! And if I can avoid a higher tax bracket while winning at all of these moves, even better!!!! The numeric maze they’re creating in their brain goes on and on and on until that becomes their entire life!!!!! The pursuit of finding better financial numbers never ends, and their return on investment is never enough. Why? Because there is always more money to be made, and better return on investment to be had.
I am not writing this to bash people who love numbers, and love pursuing financial wealth. I appreciate financial numbers like every other elite wealth builder out there. The emotions of building wealth create the exciting story to live and tell. But numbers are what separate the fact from the fiction in the story. Numbers are real. This is why you need to respect them. But you also don’t just want a life full of numbers. You want a mixture of positive numbers, emotions, and feelings that will define your wealth experience.
This is where my financial-philosophy begins to branch off from the numbers people. I believe there is many more fascinating, and more powerful things in life to explore than financial numbers on a spreadsheet and a percentage point showing my return on investment.
I am in total agreement that a 7.5% return on investment is better than a 7% return. But to me, is it that much better to spend more than an hour of my life thinking about it? Rather than endlessly calculating, and stressing over every investment decision I make, I’d rather spend my time thinking about my deepest thoughts, such as: What in the heck am I here on earth for? And, how can I best utilize my time to make life feel like it’s important, meaningful, and profound?
Your feelings. Your thoughts. Your faith. Discovering your purpose. What were you created for? I believe finding answers to these thoughts are much more valuable to creating a happy, meaningful, fulfilling life, than trying to figure out which investment will return a half a better percentage point. Your answer to: “What’s next?” is really the question that will define who you become as a wealthy person in your future.
This is why I think this way:
Once you have mastered the universal truths to building wealth, and you have successfully learned to pay off debt and save some of your income, not much will change in your life once you start hitting some of the first benchmarks of financial wealth. Once you grow your first $50,000 into $100,000, and $150,000 into $250,000, you may be amazed that your mindset and life may not change that much. Wise people should have an honest chat with themselves, and ask: What good is all my money, if my mentality doesn’t change with it?
That’s why I am a huge fan on striving to create more meaning out of life once you’ve mastered the universal truths of building wealth. Creating an awesome, real adventure in your life can be WAY more fulfilling and exciting than endlessly searching for tax loopholes and investments that can return a half-percentage point more in profit.
Here’s an example of why I focus my remaining energy on trying to build a stronger mind, perspective, and character, than I do on ways to make more money:
If I am a person who has a lot of money, but I still struggle with self-doubt and self-esteem issues; then I’ll never be able to enjoy all that money, because I’ll always be second-guessing myself, my decisions, and wondering if I am really good enough to live the life I dream of.
In this scenario, what good is another $50,000 or $500,000 in my bank account, if I still struggle with feeling like I am inadequate in life? Those huge sums of money are ultimately worthless if I am not happy with myself first. If I am not happy with myself first, then it doesn’t matter how much money I obtain because I will always be unhappy no matter how much money I have.
So if I am a person struggling with self-esteem, and questions surrounding my identity and authenticity, (like every human being does), ask yourself: does it make more sense to put my energy into accumulating more money? Or does it make more sense to pour my energy into discovering the source of why I feel inadequate?
I have learned that if I can destroy the negative, unhealthy attitudes and perspectives in mind, than that brings me a MUCH better return on investment than finding new ways to obtain more money. Wealth is the ability to discover who you are, and what you were created to accomplish on this earth. Self-actualization ⸺ which is the art of becoming your true self ⸺ is the highest level of wealth one can reach. This is why when I answer my own question of: “What’s next after one master’s the universal truths of building wealth?” I simply answer: Learn to understand yourself, and find ways to become a stronger, smarter human being, as that is where the greatest breakthroughs in life and wealth can be found.
So in conclusion, first master the universal truths to building wealth. Here they are again so you can let them soak in:
- Create an income stream(s) larger than your expenses.
- Once your expenses are paid, invest the remaining portion of your income into your preferred investment vehicles.
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 until you rise out of the money troubles in your past, and your focus can now shift into finding your purpose in life.
But once you begin to become wealthy, pause and ask yourself: What do I want to become next? Are you going to become a person who is obsessed with creating more money? Or are you going to focus on improving the quality of your mind and life?
It is my opinion that creating an awesome life that you feel good about, is more valuable than any tax loophole or investment vehicle in existence. A clear, healthy mindset is the holy land where real wealth resides. Once your money problems are in the past, invest all of your energy and time into finding this place.